Air suspension is a common modification in the aftermarket vehicle industry. These systems replace your factory shocks, struts, springs, and leaf springs with air struts to allow for ride height adjustability at any time. Some people purchase these air suspension systems for getting the perfect ride height on their vehicle, while others choose to use it to get their cars to lay frame on the pavement. There are even kits that can be used for towing to help even out your truck when a load is applied. Today, we are going to answer the question of what is air suspension, what the benefits are, and what components make up air suspension systems.
What Are The Benefits Of Air Suspension?
Air suspension kits are going to offer you a few different benefits over the factory suspension system. While they will cost more than your average suspension system, they are well worth it for those who are wanting to totally customize their rides.
Customization - One of the most obvious reasons that most people install an air suspension system is to get their car’s ride height exactly where they want it. Air suspension allows you to customize your vehicle unlike any other suspension system on the market.
More Comfortable - Air suspension is going to provide you with a more comfortable ride when compared to traditional shocks and springs. The air shocks help to absorb more vibrations, allowing you to have a smoother ride when aired up.
Less Wear On Suspension - Since air suspension absorbs most vibrations from the road, your suspension is going to get less wear and tear on it. This can help some of your normal wear items last longer when compared to a normal suspension setup.
What Components Make Up An Air Suspension System?
An air suspension system is made up of many different components. While it may seem complicated at first glance, it is actually quite simple once you understand the basic components and how they work together to provide you with adjustable suspension.
The air compressor in an air suspension system is like the lungs of your system as it pumps air into your air tank to be distributed to the air springs. Most kits are going to be outfitted with one or two compressors, depending on your specific setup (and how quickly you’d like your tank to fill), and will need to be wired to a power source and a ground. When your air system is turned on, your compressors kick on to fill up your tank. Once your tank drops to a specified pressure, they will kick back on to refill your tank.
In an air suspension system, the air tank will be the component that holds and stores compressed air that is used to raise your vehicle. The air compressor, or compressors, pump air into the air tank where it is stored until you air up. These air tanks can be found in many shapes and sizes with most coming in a 3 gallon or 5 gallon size. These tanks will usually be outfitted with mounting brackets and valves to easily hook up your air suspension system air lines.
In order to get air from your vacuum manifold to your air strut, airlines will be used to move the air. Air lines are rubber lines that are run in and out of your vehicle to each air strut. These air lines are made from DOT-approved material and are built to withstand the harsh conditions of the road and non-extreme climates.
A valve manifold for air suspension is the heart of any air suspension system. The valve manifold electronically controls the air delivery in your system. It is usually made up of an aluminum block with electronic solenoids, valves, and ¼” fittings to allow for an easy installation. The biggest thing to look for here is whether you need a 2 or 4 corner unit, the quality of the manifold as it may be exposed to the elements, and the way that it connects to your system.
With any electronically controlled air suspension system, you are going to need a good management system to go along with it. AccuAir is the industry leader in providing air management solutions with our e-Level and e+Connect systems. Air suspension management is going to include everything you need to manage your air suspension either from your phone or through a wired or wireless controller. This makes it easy to control your suspension in and out of your vehicle.
Air shocks/struts are very similar to your factory shocks and struts, only instead of a coil spring, they will be equipped with an air bladder that inflates and deflates to raise and lower your vehicle. These air shocks/struts bolt in just like your factory components with little to no modification needed. These shocks/struts are equipped with an exhaust valve to allow for air to escape when lowering the vehicle.
In an air suspension system, you will have 1 or 2 air compressors that generate air to be delivered throughout your components. As with any air compressor, moisture can generate in the air lines, sending water droplets through the lines. This is not something that you want in any air system, so a moisture trap/filter should be installed. Air suspension water traps filter out moisture and debris from the air that gets passed through them.
Ride height sensors are used to notify your air management system of the current height of each air strut. They can also be used to program specific ride heights so that you can get the perfect height at the push of one button.